Make it easy on yourself. Drive right by those expensive Christmas tree sellers down south, and swing by Dreams & Visions gift shop in Waterville Valley’s Town Square. You’ll find fresh, local Christmas trees for $45 and wreaths for $25. Your purchase supports the Waterville Valley Elementary School PTA.
If you prefer to find your Christmas tree the old-fashioned way – in the forest – the National Forest Service sells permits to cut-your-own on National Forest land.
Permits cost just $5 (payable with cash or check only) and can be purchased up until Christmas eve at the White Mountain National Forest headquarters in Campton.
“Keep in mind that a wild tree may not have the perfect appearance of a commercial tree. Be prepared to do some real searching,” the Forest Service noted in its official release. “Just remember, they look smaller in the woods than they are in your living room!”
There are some rules to cutting your own tree:
- Trees are for personal use only and cannot be resold.
- One Christmas tree can be cut per family.
- Chainsaws are not permitted; only hand tools can be used.
- Make sure you are on National Forest land (Waterville Valley is surrounded by the National Forest!).
- Do not cut trees in or near campgrounds, picnic areas, experimental forests, wilderness, timber sale areas, or within 100 feet of a state highway. When you purchase the permit ask if there are any known “off limit” areas.
- Do not cut trees larger than 8 inches in diameter at chest height. Pack down limb piles low enough so they are no taller than 2 feet off the ground. Scatter limbs and wood at least 25 feet away from roads, streams, hiking trails and property boundaries.
- Cut your tree so remaining stumps will be less than 10 inches in height.
- Attach your tree tag after cutting and before transporting your tree.
For permits and office hours, visit fs.usda.gov/whitemountain.